NDSU at UNI Preview
Bison begin conference play against No. 14 ranked Panthers
Published: Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 14:09
After a crushing 66-7 victory over a weak and winless Prairie View A&M Panther team, the Bison football team hits the road this weekend to take on the Panthers again. This time, however, is against the number 14-ranked Panthers of Northern Iowa. The Panthers sit at a record of 1-3 overall, and 0-1 in the conference thus far, but don’t let that record fool you.
The three losses for the Panthers this year have come from schools including University of Wisconsin, University of Iowa and Youngstown State. Northern Iowa lost by just five to Wisconsin, 11 to Iowa and by seven last weekend in a shootout against the number three-ranked team in the nation, the Penguins of Youngstown State. The schedule for UNI definitely doesn’t get any easier when our number one-ranked Bison stampede into the UNI dome.
Much like our very own Fargodome, the UNI dome is known for its loud and proud 12th man, that of course being the fans. You better believe that after a tough loss against the Penguins last weekend, the last thing the number 14-ranked team in the nation wants is to fall to 1-4 overall, and a winless 0-2 in the Missouri Valley Conference. The dome will be rocking on Saturday in Cedar Falls, and Brock Jensen and the Bison offense will have to be ready to deal with the noise.
The Bison defense will have a much tougher assignment this weekend than they had last weekend. The Panthers offense, led by Quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen, is a high-flying offense that can score quickly. Kollmorgen, a red shirt freshman, has begun his career with four straight games of over 200 yards passing, including an impressive 333 yards and three touchdowns last week. UNI running back David Johnson has scored in all four games, including tying a Panthers record four touchdowns last weekend. The Bison defense has allowed just 14 points in three games this season, averaging under five points per game. The Panthers offense on the other hand is averaging over 32 points a game, including putting up an impressive 35 last weekend against a tough Youngstown State defense. There’s no way around it-- something will have to give on Saturday.
NDSU’s offense looked as sharp as ever last weekend scoring on every drive in the first half. Jensen and receiver Zach Vraa look to be in mid-season form together, as do running backs Sam Ojuri, John Crockett and the rest of the Bison offense. NDSU is averaging over 46 points a game in three contests this year, including blow-out wins of 52-0 over Robert Morris and 66-7 over Prairie View A&M. The Panthers’ defense, which gave up 42 points last weekend, is averaging less than 24 points a game this season. Just like the other side of the ball for both teams, something will have to give this weekend.
Other than Colorado State, this is the first real test for the Bison. Playing a conference rival and a nationally ranked UNI team, NDSU is in store for the toughest game on the schedule yet thus far. The UNI dome will be loud, proud and rockin’ come Saturday night, and the Bison will need to exert a little more energy than they needed last weekend. In a battle between two of the top Missouri Valley Conference teams, I can’t wait for Saturday night to come. I hope the UNI dome feels the stampede of the Herd coming their way, as this game promises to be a good one. I’ll be wearing my green and gold while enjoying a large pizza as I watch one of the biggest games of the year. As always, GO BISON!